Poverty is the dominant cause of amputation in Africa. It is also the factor that denies amputees the opportunity to get back on their feet. In Gambia, a country heavily affected by diabetes, a basic prosthetic leg costs around $530. When you consider that the average yearly wage is $380, it’s easy to understand how quickly lives can be robbed of mobility and movement. To make matters worse, in many African countries amputees suffer social stigma and exclusion for their predicament, as amputation is widely seen as divine judgment.
In the UK, over 5,000 prosthetic limbs are discarded every year, many of them in perfect condition. Once a prosthetic limb has been used or even tried on, it is considered by law a biohazard and cannot be redistributed in the EU. In many cases, organizations such as hospitals and nursing homes are forced pay to have prosthetic limbs disposed of.
Legs4Africa has stepped in to end this wasteful cycle and get the limbs to where they need to be. This year, Pall-Ex, the leading UK and European palletized freight network, is transporting 1000 prosthetic limbs to Gatwick Airport, where they will then be flown to hospital mobility departments in Gambia and Senegal.
Kevin Buchanan, group managing director of Pall-Ex, said: “It has been quite an ambitious project for the charity, particularly with the threat of Ebola affecting that area – but that’s more incentive to help in whatever way we can.”
Other companies involved in the project include builder Adrian Dale to provide pallets, DS Smith to provide packaging, and Ground Qube to supply the manpower.
For more information: http://legs4africa.org